Mulan gasped at her blood covered fingers. She could hardly believe herself that she was bleeding. Bleeding rather profusely from her side. No- what was she going to do? She was going to die.
"He's wouded! Get help..."
Mulan looked up at her captain, Li Shang who had just given an order to her fellow warriors. She could see through his powerful and strong stance to his eyes filled with worry for his best soldier.
Mulan found herself closing her eyes from the burning pain swelling into her. She had to say something to Shang, an explanation, "Shang..." she couldn't finish. Now the pain was causing her to feel weak and dizzy. She must have assumed that she was falling back because Shang reached out to her and grabbed ahold of her shoulders as a way of keeping her steady.
"Ping, hold on..." he pleaded.
Mulan tried to keep her eyes open, but she struggled with her newly-cloudy vision. She felt herself falling.
"Hold on," Shang begged, he could tell Ping was in great pain and that he'd probably black out, but not now!
Mulan had her last look at Shang before the dizziness got to her and she slowly faded into darkness. *I'm sorry, Shang...*
Li Shang watched in the midst of silence as Ping fell from his grasp and hit the snow silently.
"Is..is he-?" Ling was standing a few feet away from Shang when Ping drifted away.
"No." Shang said quietly, he kept his eyes on Ping. The others watched silently as their captain knealt down next to the fallen young man and took off his cape. He gently spread the red cloak around Ping to keep him warm until Yao and the other two soldiers returned with the medic to help Ping. As Ping winced in his sleep, Shang couldn't help but look closer at the his face. Weak and vulnerable, Shang wasn't so sure that Ping was who he thought he was. He almost looked like...a girl. But that was crazy, who ever heard of a woman disquising herself as a man and fighting in the wars? Shang shook the thought out of his head and sighed. "Hold on, Ping." he touched his arm reasuringly.
* * *
Mulan woke up slowly to find herself in Shang's arms.
"Hold on, Ping." he whispered.
Mulan stared deeply into his eyes, something was wrong. she quickly looked herself over and found that she was bleeding from her side. How?
"You sure put up a good idea against Shan Yu, Ping." Chien-Po smiled, the best smile he could produce.
It all came rushing back to her, she had just fired the cannon at the mountain when Shan Yu struck her with his twisted sword. She remembered a sharp pain stab through her belly and doubled over in pain before scrambling to her horse, Khan. As the Huns were buried one by one within the avalanche, she and Khan galloped to find Li Shang. She did find him, but the three of them were buried in the cold thick snow. After her friends (mostly Chien-Po) lifted them up over the cliff, she and Shang exchaned words of thanks. Then she discovered the wound.
Mulan choked a little and looked back up to Shang, "Shang...I have to tell you something," she whispered.
"Shh. Hold on, Yao and the others are looking for a doctor, you're going to be alright, Ping." he silenced him.
"No," Mulan closed her eyes and staggered a breath, "My...my name is Mulan."
Shang stiffened, "What?" he insisted.
Mulan opened her eyes slowly and let a tear swell down her cheek, "My name in Mulan. Fa Mulan...Fa Zhou's daughter." she cried softly, so no one but Shang could hear her.
Shang turned his eyes away from the ailing girl in a man's armor. A girl saved his life, how could this be?
"Shang, I'm sorry...I can explain..." Mulan whined, she swallowed a lump. The pain in her side was really getting to her now.
Shang looked back into the eyes of Mulan. She was crying now. Tears of pain and shame streamed down her face. Shang did the first thing he could think of, he followed his heart, "Shh..Mulan, don't cry." he soothed, Shang pulled Mulan closer to him. He knew the law, but he could care less. His heart went out to his brave friend Mulan.
Mulan closed her eyes tightly, "It hurts..."
"I don't doubt that," Shang smiled halfheartedly.
Mulan whined and nestled deeper into his strong arms. Shang sighed and held her as he turned to his army. Most of them had their heads turned, except for Ling and Chien-Po who were both worried for Ping. He turned back to Mulan when he felt her stir slightly. Mulan was shivering and looking at him with the most innocent and frightened eyes he'd ever seen. "Captain Li," Yao startled Shang with two of his soldiers and a horse. "We...we couldn't find a doctor."
"You searched, and no doctor? Not even the medic?" Shang murmered.
"I'm sorry." Yao sighed and turned with his fellow warriors to the otherside of Shang next to the others. "But, maybe if we could get him to the next city--"
Mulan closed her eyes slowly and solemnly.
Shang opened his mouth to whisper his regrets to Mulan but turned to the Councilman, "Go on without me."
"B-But, Captain--" the still shooken up Chi Fu started to object.
"I said, go on without me." Shang said firmly.
Chi Fu nodded slowly and started to follow the slow moving warriors down the less steep side of the mountain. He turned back to Mulan.
"Shang...go..." she whispered, eyes closed still.
"No. I want to stay with you, Mulan." he said.
Mulan choked on her tears, they were starting to sting her cold cheeks. "I'm going to die."
Shang pulled her closer, he couldn't say anything to her. He watched her cover her wound with a limp blood covered hand and open her eyes slightly.
"I'm sorry, Shang." she cried.
"Shh..." he looked into her fearful eyes and gently smeared the tears from her face with on hand.
"You'll...you'll go to my village and tell my parents, won't you?" Mulan asked, softly.
"Of course, Mulan." it was so hard for him to accept the fact that she wasn't going to make it. He vowed to stay with her until she drifted. He trailed his hand down the side of her face.
Mulan smiled a bit, it didn't hide her grief, "Thank you, Shang..."
Shang smiled back at her slightly. He held Mulan as she slowly bled helplessly. Why couldn't he help her? "Mulan, I'm..I'm going to take you to the Imperial City."
Mulan's eyes opened and glazed over as she shook her head, "No,"
Shang felt his own tears coming into play. His heart was breaking as the beautiful strong flower drifted. He gently trailed one hand on the side of her face to her hair. It was still soft through the battle. As he brushed a few tendrils out of her face, her hair gradually fell from the tie and around her face, as it should look.
Mulan let out her last deep breath weakly and looked into Shang's pained face, "I'll be with you, Shang." she whispered and closed her eyes slowly for the last time.
* * *
Mulan woke suddenly to find herself in a blanket under a tent. She sat up slowly and was struck with shock to see Shang at the doorway. She felt her heart jump and a chill nipped her. That was when she realized the blanket was at her waist and her chest was givingly wrapped with a white bandage. It was form fitting. A woman's form. Shang felt his face freeze. Mulan gasped and covered herself back up, heart racing.
"So it's true!" the Councilman barged in on Mulan and Shang's state of shock and grabbed Mulan by the wrist. He dragged her out of the tent and into the snow, before the warriors. Mulan clutched the warm cloth closer to her body and looked to the ground. Mulan closed her eyes tightly and felt her hair fall to her shoulders as he ripped the cloth out of her hair, "It's a woman!" The warriors exchanged their awes.
"No...No! I can explain..." Mulan pleaded. She looked up at Shang who was next to Chi Fu. She heard him scolding her for her disobedience. Mulan let her raven hair cover her face from her friends so she could try to keep from sobbing. Now she'd never find herself, she failed. She'll never bring honor. Mulan looked up slowly and saw Shang with the sword."